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Album Review

by Queens Of The Stone Age


Review Date
25th August 2017
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

“I was born in the desert” is probably the most appropriate opening line for a Queens of the Stone Age record you could hope for. In reality though, Villains, the band’s seventh studio record, marks a step away from the generator parties and peyote-driven stoner rock of the band’s past, and a step closer to the sticky dancefloors of a demented dive bar in outer L.A.

That isn’t to say the DNA of the band is lost. Villains draws heavily on the long form songwriting of the band’s last record, Like Clockwork, as well as the raucous middle 8 / power chorus combo responsible for innumerable mosh pits over the years. Even the long-time interplay of duelling rhythm tracks and tit-for-tat solos from front man Josh Homme and guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen remain the bedrock of the band’s sound.

It’s just that after a few listens, and the sheen of Mark Ronson’s (Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars) production wears away, Villains begins to reveal itself as a little more safe than it could've been. Whenever there’s an opportunity to truly turn a song on its head or rip up the script, the album will frustratingly return to verse or even fade out completely. With most tracks clocking in over the five-minute mark, the misses can start to rob the whole affair of momentum.

That said, I challenge you not to have a good time with this record. Whether it’s down to Ronson’s influence or Homme’s rockabilly tendencies, Villains is impossible not to dance to. Jon Theodore’s drums are in constant lockstep with Michael Shuman’s bass throughout and, with the help of an ever-present keyboard, conspire to keep knees jostling, hips swaying and soles destroyed.

On top of that, when the band choose to get a little crazy, the results are thrilling. The slow build and drum-splosion of opener, ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’ is a great example. As is the swaying drawl of ‘Fortress’ and the machine gun drum-and-bass of ‘Head Like a Haunted House’. Despite the missteps, it’s clear the band are having a ton of fun throughout Villains, and it’s hard not to jump on the dancefloor with them.


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